The Football Association has announced it is holding The Sir Bobby Robson National Football Day on 10 August as part of their 150th anniversary celebrations, which begin today.
The day will celebrate grass roots football and volunteers in the game across the country and will honour Sir Bobby’s career in football, as well as raising awareness and fund-raising to support the work of his cancer charity – the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
Former England captain Alan Shearer, a Patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, says: “It’s great news. It just goes to show how highly the job Sir Bobby did for the national team and for football generally in this country is still appreciated. Rightly so.
“We’re very proud of his memory up in the North East, the region that he came from, but his legacy stretches far beyond that and this is a lovely reminder. Not that it’s needed, but I get them wherever I go; Bobby continues to inspire such huge affection and respect.
“He was so proud of his time with England. I know there were some difficult moments for him and some fierce criticism, but his enthusiasm and passion for the game in this country and beyond never wavered at all, which is amazing.
“He left a great footballing legacy, at international level, as well as at his clubs, and now he has a charitable one, too. I know that he would have been thrilled by this honour.”
Thanks to magnificent support from volunteer fund-raisers and generous donors, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has now raised over £4.7million and is making a significant impact in the fight against cancer.
In the last year, Sir Bobby’s widow Lady Elsie has officially opened the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation PET Tracer Production Unit, which was jointly funded by the charity and Newcastle University. The charity also announced it was contributing £850,000 towards life-saving new cyber surgery equipment at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.
Both of these major advances in treatment and tumour detection for cancer patients will work in tandem with the clinical trials of new drugs within the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre, also at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care.
Lady Elsie says: “I’m thrilled that the FA is involving my family and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in their 150th anniversary celebrations.
“My husband was immensely proud to represent England, both as a player and as a manager. We had a wonderful quality of life in Suffolk and it was no small thing for Bob to give up being manager of Ipswich. But he just didn’t feel he could turn his country down when he was approached.
“For him, it was a huge honour to be asked and he never took that role for granted. Every game and every result meant the world to him and I think it’s that passion and commitment which people remember so fondly now.”
The Football Association continues to be an enthusiastic and generous supporter of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. In February 2009, then England manager, Fabio Capello attended the opening of the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre and presented a cheque from the FA for £75,000. The organisation also made a generous donation following Sir Bobby’s death later that year.
And current England manager, Roy Hodgson, will be among guests at the gala fund-raising event at the Sage, Gateshead, on 18 February to celebrate what would have been Sir Bobby’s 80th birthday. Sir Bobby Robson – A Celebration is being organised by volunteers and will raise funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Alan Shearer Foundation.
Lady Elsie adds: “Bob launched his cancer charity in 2008 and right from the start the FA has been on hand to support us. So many people throughout the organisation help us continue the important work the Foundation funds. It means a lot and we greatly appreciate it.
“I’m especially proud that the National Football Day is being named in Bob’s honour. He’d have loved that.
“I think it’s very fitting as it will be a day celebrating and encouraging grass roots football. And Bob never lost his own boyish enthusiasm for the game no matter what was happening off the field.
“He’d also want to know the ins and outs of all the football planned for the day, wherever it was in the country. He always wanted to know the finer details when it came to football.
“He was at the helm of the national side for eight years – and they were eight very challenging years. He missed the week in week out football matches of club football, the kind of adrenalin that comes with that, but it really was the pinnacle of his career.
“He was so close to success in Mexico and Italy and he loved working with the England players. They were so supportive of him and he was never afraid to follow his own ideas, even when those tactics weren’t popular with others.
“To have come from a small Durham mining village and to go on to represent his country was such a big thing. His parents were so proud. Bob gave them one of his England caps and they had glass case made so they could display it in their bungalow in Langley Park.
“But then he was one of five brothers and they all succeeded in their own fields. He never outshone any of them. It was a very supportive family and it was that kind of community. He brought that work ethos with him wherever he went.”
Story on FA website here.